Posted by: annie | February 7, 2010

I made it!

Hello friends, I’m writing this blog as a way to keep in touch with everyone and share photos of this beautiful place. I have never been one to read or participate much in blogs so this is all new and I can’t make any promises about how often I will post. I’ve realized that calling or emailing all the people I’d like to as often as I’d like will be impossible so please accept this blog as a poor substitute for actual conversation.

I had a relatively smooth journey from Portland to Los Angeles to Auckland to Albany (where I currently live). I managed to get my four very large and very heavy bags on the planes and off the planes and into the places I was staying fairly easily. Thanks to Joelfre for packing me, and Jennifer, Regenia, and Lisa for follow-up last minute packing and to Julie and Jennifer for getting me off to the airport and on my way even if that parting was accompanied with a few goodbye tears.

Update: that’s as far as I got on my first attempt:

I’ve been here about 3 weeks now and am beginning to feel pretty settled. My first week was the most stressful mostly due to the accommodation provided by the school which was basically a big apartment style dorm. There weren’t that many people staying there but it was messy enough and dirty enough to keep me out of the kitchen and I spent my first hour there cleaning one of the bathrooms. Luckily, it was near a cute area with shops, the library, and some coffee shops. The big mall was about a 15min walk away. I kept myself busy enough. Its’ one redeeming feature was the pretty view from the deck and the constant singing of the cicadas which I found both loud and relaxing.

this is the path from the dorms to the town

this is the view behind the dorms

I’ve explored some of the shops and grocery stores. The food situation is definitely different, but it’s workable. There are gluten-free options in most places, not the brands I’m used to, so I’ll be trying some new things. I think if you’re willing to explore new things and buy what’s local and cheap in terms of produce it isn’t too expensive. There are some things I’ll miss that I can’t get.  My favorite cookies and chocolate, Meir Glen tomato sauce, canned whole tomatoes (I haven’t found them yet), agave, yogi tea, almond milk,  the high quality of meats at New Seasons (seriously I think the chicken here smells off)etc…….

I haven’t done much shopping in terms of clothes, but my walk through the mall was encouraging. Apparently, I have like 30 dresses so luckily it’s totally dress weather right now and I’ve been wearing them everyday.

Oh,I wanted to mention something funny. When I got off the plane from LA there was another international plane that had just got in going through customs at the same time. As I started looking around, I began to think that I recognized a few people. There was a large group of teens on a school trip and I thought sure I had taught them English 3yrs ago! How funny, the plane was from Korea and I got to watch as they hauled their enormous luggage load through the inspections. It was highly entertaining to see them pull out all the food they brought, even raw meats marinated in hot pepper sauce. yummy, but really????

My favorite thing about NZ of course is the beach. The weather has been hot and I’ve been spending days at the beach just loving the water, the sun and the gorgeous views. Sometimes I take the bus and sometimes I go with Tracey (my roommate). I’ve been putting on my togs (bathing suit) (I’m going to use NZ words when applicable just for fun) and swimming in the ocean whenever I can. There are many beaches to see here, I plan on doing some traveling around and exploring once I have a car. There’s so much to see and do, but I figure I’ve got at least a couple years. Here are some photos of the beach:

These are all from Browns Bay beach on the Northshore. It’s about 15 min from me.

I’ve also been living in my new place for the last two weeks. I used New Zealand’s version of Craigslist to find a room for rent figuring that would be the easiest transition. I found Tracey easily and had a feeling from her pics and what she wrote that we might have some things in common. We met a couple days after I arrived and after chatting for a bit, we both felt it would be a great fit. She has a 15yr old daughter Brittany who’s very sweet and actually easy to live with. I feel quite at ease and comfortable here. Tracey has gone out of her way to make my transition easy. I have everything I need and we do our weekly grocery shopping together. Yea!!! We are all beach lovers in this house, so we’ve made a few trips together. The other night we had fish and chips (french fries) at the beach with some of Tracey’s mates. It was the first time I sampled their tomato sauce (a twisted gross version of ketchup). Has anyone else had this???? If you know how much I like my chips with ketchup, you can imagine how traumatized I was. To top it off, I actually had to pay like 40 cents extra for the stuff……. YUCK!

Let’s see if I can get some pics of where I’m living:

of course they have a cat!!!!

As for school, orientation started this week. and as most orientations tend to be, it is BORING. I found out it wasn’t necessarily required and skipped today. Believe me, I’m not missing anything. It’s all week long, all day long. I did get to meet my classmates and it’s a nice mix of ages, experience, and nationality. There are only a few native New Zealanders. I’m not sure any of them will turn out to be friends outside of the class but that will be okay. The program doesn’t seem to bad. We’ve got some interesting classes and most exams are essay based so I should be comfortable with that. I’m looking forward to the class on Maori.

these pics are from my walk to uni…….

Okay, well that’s the update mates!!!



  1. Annmarie! I am so glad you started a blog. It’s nice to know that you are getting along nicely in your new residence and enjoying your new roommates, Brittany, Tracey, and even the kitty! Hopefully school itself will be much less boring than orientation. 😉 Keep the updates coming!

  2. Hi Annmarie,
    I enjoyed that very much. loved the pictures and it feels like home….I want to be there too.
    It sounds like you are getting on with your mates, Harley “D” has 2 dog mates in Australia!!
    I know you will do well in school, keep the pictures coming love them, and miss you.
    Remember…….SKYPE, haven’t heard about it, but would be fun to talk to you. Did you get the pics I sent of your party?
    Love, Auntie

  3. hello friend. welcome to the blogosphere! thanks for using all the kiwi words. i will write more after the olympics, very occupied right now…

  4. Loved your pictures. Glad you arrived safely and hope all goes well in your new diggings. Glad you’re enjoying the beaches because we are freezing here. The first time in 35 years we’ve had this kind of weather in this time of year. Of course Charlie is in the gulf and on the beaches almost daily. Hopefully the weather will get better for all the Bryans when they come on the 26th. Enjoy New Zealand and all it has to offer.
    Love you and miss you. Nanni

  5. Hi AM…or is it Annie now? Which, by the way, I love for you. Okay, so Annie, great blog! It’s wonderful to see the pictures of where you are living and the beaches where you are playing. Your house looks huge and the windowed wall is wonderful. So glad your roommate situation is a positive one. Sending you lots of love and happy social work school vibes.–Julie

  6. Hello…Great to hear from you..Nice blog site, a lot of people use wordpress. Cool pic’s…Check my blog for Lost updates…Hope you can watch there.


    • Hi Little B, Aunt Jen had to help me figure out what that meant. of course I’m watching Lost. I bought it from itunes because they are like 2 weeks behind here and I cannot wait that long. Imagine waiting 2 weeks for the big finale!!! I’ll check out your blog and we can chat about lost there. yay!

  7. Maryann!

    Your blog is awesome! I love it. You sound absolutely free there; it is so wonderful to read your words!

    Thinking about you…love, Joelfre

  8. ro chuck joe and i are at joe’s for an oscar
    we enjoyed your blog and the pictures keep them

    • that sounds like fun grandma! hope you all had a fun oscar night.

  9. Annmarie, Cute car, good luck and glad you are enjoying it. Luv ya Mom and Dad

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